People have been asking lately, so I'll lay it out. The latest plans are that Sogee and I are here in Pittsford, NY, until we figure out a) whether or not I plan on doing a PhD, b) if she would like to find a job of some sort, or c) we just decide to move to L.A. without any plan at all.
Today I am leaning towards Plan C. I am not much of a planner, although I have been more of one since I went to South Korea. The culture may have rubbed off on me in that sense, or I am simply less inclined to take risks because I am aware--or afraid--of what those risks might entail. And let's face it. I feel more responsible with Sogee by my side.
At the moment, being married to a person who is still acclimating to a new culture is like being married to a teenager. She vacillates from one plan to the next, and is very impressionable about the latest fad on TV, or the newest product she might see at a friend's home.
"We have to buy organic from now on," Sogee said.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because it's healthier," she said.
"Okay," I said. "Buy organic."
Yesterday, when I picked her up from her latest trip in St. Louis, it was a brand new day. I had just pulled away from the airport. The merge onto the highway was made. I relaxed in my seat. I even put my hand under my right cheek--as I am prone to do on long road trips--in preparation of the 20 minutes or so of driving, until we got to Pittsford. I figured I'd hear about the trip. She had been in St. Louis for a week. I was wrong, though. Her mind was still rooted in the big bad world of to shop organic or not.
"We don't need to buy organic anymore," Sogee told me with confidence. "It's filled with germs."
"Where did you hear that?"
"The girl I stayed with in St. Louis. She told me that people just think it's healthier. It's a placebo. It's actually filled with more pesticides and chemicals because people don't clean it properly."
"I don't know if that is true. How do you know your friend is right?"
"She is a pharmacist."
"Pharmacists know about whether to buy organic or not? Aren't they the ones who just fill prescriptions at a drugstore?"
"No, she works for a company. That's her job. She is supposed to analyze statistics. Her specialization is nutrition."
"Okay. So we don't need to buy organic."
"How was your trip?"
"It was okay. I learned a lot."
It is in moments like the one above--or countless others--where as a married guy you got to bite your tongue from stating the obvious and getting put in a doghouse for a day and a half. I usually can't resist. It's the reverence for being irreverent that gets me every time. I just can't resist pulling chairs out from under monks, and painting glow in the dark messages on a psychics' walls. I'm a prankster. I am also a sadist in some senses--we don't have to go into the specifics--at least not in this post.
"It sounds like you learned a lot about shopping organic."
"Yes, I did. I also learned from my friends."
"What did you learn?"
"I got to see them. What they're doing. Now I can see."
"What can you see?"
"What I don't want to be."
"What don't you want to be?"
"What do you want to be?"
"Me," Sogee laughs. "I just want to be me."
The rest of the car ride I think about what will become of the two of us. We are two of the strangest people on the planet. She bailed out of the typical boxed life of Korean society in favor of being the intrepid explorer. She married a waygooken (American), and could care less what happens tomorrow. She is completely free and slightly anxious simultaneously. I, on the otherhand, seem to keep falling into the parental role of do-gooder, when I could give two shits about any of that. Personally, I am probably an exact mirror for my wife. Like her, I am impressionable, an explorer, impulsive, and given to trusting pharmacists when they say serious shit about organic food products.
"So they're bad, huh?" I ask.
"What?" Sogee asks.
"They're not bad or good. It just doesn't matter. They could be bad with the chemicals."
"Like apples and things."
"So don't buy any organic stuff anymore."
"Can't you just wash the fruit?"
"My friend was talking about the milk."
"What else did you find out?"
"Lots of things."
I listen to Sogee tell me the finer points of Real Estate as I pull into my parent's driveway. I am happy she seems to be interested in pursuing something as a potential job. I hope each week we might be closer to seeing a final winner. I think that to myself. At the same time, I think that maybe none of this matters. Maybe, that is just who we are--aimless wanderers. Paths and plans will find us. It's not the other way around.
"You think maybe going to L.A. in August is too soon?"
"Why do you say that?"
"I don't know. If I apply to PhD programs, then we might have to move again the next year. Maybe, we can just stick here until we find out if I get in."
"I know it's boring here, but that's a lot of money to make two moves. How do I know I'll get into a school in L.A.."
"Then we also need to admit the fact that maybe I won't even do a PhD. Like I don't get in anywhere, or maybe we just go to L.A.."
"Whatever you decide, I'll follow you."
"Yeah, I have no idea."
"Let's think it over for a couple days."
Sogee is already halfway to the front door. I look into my rearview and see all the luggage. It's an understood thing among married couples, I assume--the man must pick up the bags. Who knows? Maybe, it's something we learned in Asia. I have no idea. I pick up her suitcase that we painted before her trip to America. It's got little messages from her Dad, like "good fortune!" and "health" and lots of other sayings in Korean. I have no idea what they mean. I don't even understand the one thing I wrote on there: "I love you more than tape!" What is that supposed to mean? It must be some inside joke long forgotten. Whatever. I carry the bag up the front walk and to the front door. I don't say a word, as I carry the luggage up the stairs to our bedroom. Sogee is there, though--watching me. I look up and catch her giggling. I guess I must have been singing with each of my grunts up the staircase.
"What?" I ask.
"Nothing," she says.
"Did I do something wrong?"
"I just like looking at you."
"Okay," I say.